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Fanditha magic - a short introduction
Maldives Culture 2000

Until recently, social life in Maldives was steeped in fanditha - a mixture of folk medicine, charms and black magic, based on ancient beliefs and superstitions, with the addition of Arabic Koranic verses.

Islam in the Maldives, though backed by government regulation, has always been restricted by the lack of any Dhivehi translation of the Quran and extremely limited education.

Fanditha thrived in these circumstances. Magic was often used in political intrigue, courtship and marriage rites, launching new ships, ensuring a good fish catch, finding guilty parties when a crime (usually theft) had been committed, and treating the sick. Fanditha assumed less benign forms when it was employed to weaken or kill enemies.

In modern Maldives the practice of fanditha is declining rapidly, and it is considered a joke by many educated Maldivians. But respected fanditha men are still paid large amounts of money by satisfied clients. A fanditha man from Maathodaa island in Huvadhu atoll claimed to have earned over Rf 20,000 while practising in Addu atoll during 1994-5.

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